Geddy Lin, the manager of Taipei’s Jazz Club “Riverside”, is a guitar teacher, composer, professional performer, and served as 2016 and 2017 Taipei Jazz Festival curator.
What’s the latest news about Taipei Jazz Festival 2017?
At the eleventh edition of the Taipei Jazz Festival 2017, we have invited two very important contemporary jazz musicians. The first in programme was the “Balaio Invites Randy Brecker”, which is a Brazilian musical group, “Balaio”, joined by the six-time Grammy Award winner, the legendary jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker. Also, we invited the multi-Grammy-nominated keyboardist and jazz composer Jeff Lorber to collaborate with two well-known Taiwanese musicians, Shuen Wen Tung and Wei Chih Chang. These two concerts were held respectively at the Multi-Showcase Exhibition Hall, situated inside the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, and at the Riverside Live House. Besides these two international stars, other activities include 12 back-to-back concerts held at Da’an Forest Park for three consecutive days: Saturday Night Live Jazz with 9 musical groups, held at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, the young jazz musicians competition, four jazz workshops held at various schools, four lectures, four jazz concerts held at the Red House Theater, which is a famous historical building in Taipei and, finally, a flash mob dance combined with Jazz music in several famous landmarks in Taipei. With such a vast and wonderful programme, the Taipei Jazz Festival had led all the citizens to swing together with the heat of jazz music.
I think it will be more and more popular; I remember in 1996, when I just came back from the United States: in this 20 years, Taiwan’s jazz music has developed, there are many young jazz musicians, performances are becoming more and more intensive, the audience response is warm. International jazz masters often visit Taiwan, jazz music education promotion and curricula are getting very popular… these are the symbols of the progress ever during these years.
If the budget is rich, we try to invite the top international musicians, especially avant-garde, experimental, and those that represent national styles. As for the Taiwanese musicians, our priority is to invite the professional groups that promote and engage in jazz music over a long period of time. Of course, those individuals with astonishing skills and strong styles are also on the invitation list.
Many music festivals in Europe and in the United States don’t have the need to attract the audience by the means of the great line-up; they began to establish the “brand” concept, it is an ideology, a lifestyle, a life experience; what makes people buy a ticket is based on the value of the music brand, a good example is Glastonbury Festival in the UK (Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts). In contrast, in Taiwan’s music festival, we always put too much emphasis on line-up. It is difficult to understand what the audience supports, those who benefit from the festival are often those who sell foods and drinks in this night market-like event, actually, we can’t see any cultural accumulation. It’s often confusing whether the audience truly supports musical culture or simply because it’s trendy to do so. The government’s policy to hold a free music festival further increases the difficulty for those musicians to create value to the music industry.
Yes, we had four, called “Take the A Train to Campus”; the workshops were divided into two sections; in the first part, the teachers for a chosen style introduced its evolution, definition, story, representative figures, classic repertoire and so on. The second part featured ensembles with students playing their instruments guided by the teacher, with the aim to develop solo skills, listening, rules, etc. More details at: http://jazz.festival.taipei/2017/.
To be able to integrate with the international scene, to be able to introduce good music in Taiwan, to be able to popularize Taiwan’s jazz scene in the international scene, and to support international exchanges with the right attitudes of observing, emulating and learning.
The focus in hosting the Taipei jazz festival is not on profit; being the festival curator you can cooperate with national and international teams or individuals to create a tacit understanding and share the idea to jointly promote jazz music as the goal of the task; jazz music shouldn’t be a name, but a creation inspired by the feelings for the life and culture. The jazz cultural development of a city represents its ability to absorb the innovations, trends and pulse of the culture. As once the jazz master Sonny Rollins said: “Jazz is a fusion of music”.
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